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The looking machineEssays on cinema, anthropology and documentary filmmaking$
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David MacDougall

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526134097

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526134097.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

The experience of colour

The experience of colour

(p.88) 7 The experience of colour
The looking machine

David MacDougall

Manchester University Press

Colour plays an important part in the aesthetics of everyday life. It has significant psychological effects as well as carrying symbolic meanings, both religious and secular, and it is an important marker of cultural identity. This chapter explores the role and uses of colour at the Doon School, an elite boys’ boarding school in India where the author made a number of films. In this highly controlled community, the social aesthetics of the institution becomes imprinted on the consciousness of its inhabitants. It is intimately associated with the students’ activities, social relationships, and sensory experiences. It defines their status and shapes their lives. The uses of colour at the school are also consistent with a wider social aesthetic emphasising restraint, logical thought, and the training and presentation of the body. Many of these values can be seen to have their origins in the school’s colonial history and postcolonial aspirations. The author argues that we can only understand the full implications of such sensory patterning in society through more extensive research in social aesthetics.

Keywords:   colour, the senses, institutions, social environments, social aesthetics, India, postcoloniality

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